What are Pharmacokinetics? This is a very complex concept and hard to wrap your mind around, but if you know what to do and where to go, it’s easy! Let me give you an example of how I learned about this interesting subject.
A few years ago, I had a discussion with one of my colleagues at work. We were talking about the difference between pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, the differences between how drugs get absorbed and how they are excreted from the body. My colleague was very well informed, so I asked him to elaborate on his answer. He explained that in pharmacokinetics, the process of absorbing is called concentration. In pharmacodynamics, on the other hand, we consider the process of excretion.
You may be surprised to learn that most of the world’s population does not fully understand the differences between these two concepts. Even many pharmacists don’t understand what is meant by pharmacokinetics or pharmacodynamics. The only way to truly master this art of medicine is to become a professional member of a nursing family nurse. A family nurse specializes in both of these subjects and can help educate young nurses as well as older nurses on the art of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. It’s truly the gold mine of the health care industry!
However, being a nurse professional doesn’t just mean learning about pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, it also means learning about clinical pharmacokinetics. Clinical pharmacokinetics studies drugs before they are administered to patients. They study all sorts of effects and how drugs change the body from one state to another. This includes understanding how and why some drugs act in a certain way, while other drugs are inactive in the system.
What makes pharmacokinetics so important is that it helps us understand how drugs work in the human body. Let’s say you were taking a particular drug, XR, which is an antidepressant, and you suddenly experienced a significant mood change. This would be considered a side effect, as the drug had been previously found to have a strong anti-depressive effect. What is happening is that your body’s metabolism has been affected by the drug and its actions on the brain has altered your chemical makeup in such a way that your brain now thinks it needs the drug in order to deal with the change in mood. Now you’ve got to figure out how and why you are feeling so different, but where is the magic of pharmacology at?
The answer is in the name of pharmacokinetics; that is, how the drug works in the body. In simple terms, the process of metabolizing drugs determines how the drug gets into the human body and how it gets out once there. The first drugs to be metabolized in humans were lysine, an amino acid, which was discovered in the lab of John Winters. Other drugs like ethanol (ethanolamine) and penicillin (penicillin-clavulanate) have also been discovered by modern pharmacology and are being metabolized in the same way.
With all of this in mind, we can begin to understand how and why pharmacokinetics is relevant to any type of drug therapy. Basically, the process of pharmacokinetics is how the drug gets into the human body, how it gets eliminated, how the drug gets monitored throughout the entire metabolic process, as well as how the drug is excreted from the body. Basically, there are three major functions of pharmacokinetics: monitoring, absorption, and excretion. When a drug is being administered, it is monitored to see what amount is absorbed, how fast it is excreted, and how it affects the body. When that drug is excreted, that is the point when the drug’s activities are terminated or inhibited. Monitoring and controlling the excretion rate of a drug can also be used as a way of determining the therapeutic effect of that drug.
In conclusion, all of the drugs we take, whether they are manufactured or natural, can be divided up into pharmacokinetics. When those drugs are broken down and studied, then the purpose of pharmacology can be better understood. As a nursing student, you should be excited about learning this science!